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Author Topic: Mixer Hissing.  (Read 812 times)

Aaron Burtt

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Mixer Hissing.
« on: March 09, 2017, 05:48:08 pm »

Hello there,

I'm new to this site so I apologies if this is the wrong section.

I was hoping to seek some help with my mixer.
It is an ALTO ZMX862 and has a really nice build and a decent amount of channels and input types.
I am having an issue with it though. It seems to be quite the hiss. I've got one mic plugged in with jack and a phone plugged in via AUX. This definitely isn't the issue as when I unplug both, there is still hiss. It's more or less quite white noise. The hiss does increase when my mic gain is up, but stops when I talk. If possible, I'd like to get rid of both types of hiss. Would XLR help remove the microphone hiss when I'm not speaking. I was also considering getting a Audio Isolator Module and using it for the output from the mixer to the computer.

Thanks for your help,
Aaron

Edit:
My mixer does support PHANTOM power, I am using a Shure SM58. I am not currently using Phantom power, I have turned down the EQ though and I am getting enough volume, but if I could get it louder, it would be helpful.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 06:05:47 pm by Aaron Burtt »
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Mixer Hissing.
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2017, 09:26:48 am »

Hello there,

I'm new to this site so I apologies if this is the wrong section.

I was hoping to seek some help with my mixer.
It is an ALTO ZMX862 and has a really nice build and a decent amount of channels and input types.
I am having an issue with it though. It seems to be quite the hiss. I've got one mic plugged in with jack and a phone plugged in via AUX. This definitely isn't the issue as when I unplug both, there is still hiss. It's more or less quite white noise. The hiss does increase when my mic gain is up, but stops when I talk. If possible, I'd like to get rid of both types of hiss. Would XLR help remove the microphone hiss when I'm not speaking. I was also considering getting a Audio Isolator Module and using it for the output from the mixer to the computer.

Thanks for your help,
Aaron

Edit:
My mixer does support PHANTOM power, I am using a Shure SM58. I am not currently using Phantom power, I have turned down the EQ though and I am getting enough volume, but if I could get it louder, it would be helpful.
Unless you have a compressor adding makeup gain, I'm not sure why the hiss goes away when you talk.  Are you using some kind of computer audio software that may have a compressor/automatic gain control function?

Mics should be connected by XLR cables.  Phantom power is not necessary or helpful for your SM58.

Make sure you are not adding lots of gain in one place and then cutting it back out later.  That will increase system noise.  Your mixer doesn't have much metering so it's harder to tell how your gain structure is, but as a starting point put your main output and your channel knob (the white ones) at 0dB and then adjust your input gain to get the right level.

This is a rather low-end product, and if the above doesn't help it may be a limitation of your piece of hardware.
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Will Knight

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Re: Mixer Hissing.
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2017, 09:42:20 am »

You didn't say how you're using the Mixer or the configuration of the setup.  I'll assume it's being used for DJ purposes (vs. mixing a band live or for home recording).  Is the hiss you're hearing coming through headphones?  coming through the computer?  speakers? 
TJ's points are spot on so before we can offer any better advice - other than selling it quickly and getting a decent unit - you'll need to provide more detail.
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dick rees

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Re: Mixer Hissing.
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2017, 12:24:56 pm »

The hiss you're hearing is the self-noise of one or more components in the SYSTEM.  Localizing it to a specific piece of the equipment chain without proof ("mixer hissing") is a roadblock to effective problem solving.

TJ and Will ask the pertinent questions, but having a list of all components in the signal chain with brand/model/settings will help sort it out.

Do you have some headphones?
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Aaron Burtt

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Re: Mixer Hissing.
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2017, 10:20:33 am »

Thank you for all of your replies.

Are you using some kind of computer audio software that may have a compressor/automatic gain control function?

Mics should be connected by XLR cables.  Phantom power is not necessary or helpful for your SM58.

Make sure you are not adding lots of gain in one place and then cutting it back out later.

Since the Windows 10 update, microphone issues have become apparent with Realtek. I am soon to get a soundcard, I'm not sure if this will help much or not, but It'll definitely be an improvement from the default Realtek.

I am soon to change to XLR cables. When I turn the mic gain down, I do loss most of the hiss, but there is still a little bit there that is just slightly noticeable.

The only things I am using at the moment are Mic 1 and AUX input (my phone). I do get a little bit of added hiss when I turn AUX on but very little and I know the reason for this, its the wire. It doesn't get grounded properly as it touches the metal case of my phone. This can easily be resolved when I switch to my Mac.

You didn't say how you're using the Mixer or the configuration of the setup.  I'll assume it's being used for DJ purposes (vs. mixing a band live or for home recording).  Is the hiss you're hearing coming through headphones?  coming through the computer?  speakers?
I am using the mixer for a bit of home recording and a bit of online radio.

The hiss is coming through the computer. I haven't yet properly tested headphones from the mixer itself, this is probably something that I should have done.

The hiss you're hearing is the self-noise of one or more components in the SYSTEM.  Localizing it to a specific piece of the equipment chain without proof ("mixer hissing") is a roadblock to effective problem solving.

TJ and Will ask the pertinent questions, but having a list of all components in the signal chain with brand/model/settings will help sort it out.

Do you have some headphones?

As said above, I don't use headphones. I have the mic going into the computer and now and then I will unmute it from my PC volume mixer and listen to make sure everything is coming through okay.

Also, the only components being used again is my iPhone and a SM58 on a XLR to jack cable (I know, bad me, I'll get a full XLR soon)


Thank you all for your helpful posts,
Aaron


===============
EDIT:

One thing I have noticed is that I still get small hiss when all volume is turned down on the mixer even main. This leads me to believe it is either the cable from the mixer to the computer or the computer itself.
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Mixer Hissing.
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2017, 10:48:19 am »

I also wouldn't discount that you may have snakes living in your system.  They like the warmth of the equipment and will sometimes crawl in there at night. 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Jim Thorn

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Re: Mixer Hissing.
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2017, 01:22:55 pm »

Aaron,

You say you are using a jack input for the mic -- I take that to mean that the mic is plugged into the 1/4" line input of channel 1 or 2.  If the SM58 does not have a LO-Z to HI-Z transformer in the adapter cable, its signal is considerably lower in level than that input is designed for.  Using an XLR cable will solve that part of the problem.


You also say that the hiss goes away when you talk.   If the output of your mixer is plugged into a computer input that is intended for a mic-level signal, the computer will apply an excessive amount of gain, which makes any hiss coming out of the mixer very noticeable.  If the computer's input has an overload limiter (a form of automatic level control), it would sense when your voice signal comes through, and greatly reduce its gain to prevent overload. That would put your voice signal at a good level, and the reduced gain would temporarily make the accompanying hiss inaudible.   When the voice signal stops, the temporary gain reduction would end, making the hiss audible again.

If that is what is happening, you would need to either connect the mixer's output to a line-level input at the computer, or reduce the mixer's output to mic-level by using an attenuating cable or a direct box between the mixer and the computer.

If you will be adding an external sound card to your setup, the card will certainly have line-level inputs on it.

It is also possible that your recording software has an automatic level control, which could give you the same "varying hiss" effect I described above.  If so, there should be settings in a menu somewhere to turn off that feature, if desired.

Best of luck with your efforts!


Thank you for all of your replies.

Since the Windows 10 update, microphone issues have become apparent with Realtek. I am soon to get a soundcard, I'm not sure if this will help much or not, but It'll definitely be an improvement from the default Realtek.

I am soon to change to XLR cables. When I turn the mic gain down, I do loss most of the hiss, but there is still a little bit there that is just slightly noticeable.

The only things I am using at the moment are Mic 1 and AUX input (my phone). I do get a little bit of added hiss when I turn AUX on but very little and I know the reason for this, its the wire. It doesn't get grounded properly as it touches the metal case of my phone. This can easily be resolved when I switch to my Mac.
I am using the mixer for a bit of home recording and a bit of online radio.

The hiss is coming through the computer. I haven't yet properly tested headphones from the mixer itself, this is probably something that I should have done.

As said above, I don't use headphones. I have the mic going into the computer and now and then I will unmute it from my PC volume mixer and listen to make sure everything is coming through okay.

Also, the only components being used again is my iPhone and a SM58 on a XLR to jack cable (I know, bad me, I'll get a full XLR soon)


Thank you all for your helpful posts,
Aaron


===============
EDIT:

One thing I have noticed is that I still get small hiss when all volume is turned down on the mixer even main. This leads me to believe it is either the cable from the mixer to the computer or the computer itself.
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Aaron Burtt

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Re: Mixer Hissing.
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2017, 08:26:50 pm »

I take that to mean that the mic is plugged into the 1/4" line input of channel 1 or 2.

Yeah, you are correct.

If the SM58 does not have a LO-Z to HI-Z transformer in the adapter cable, its signal is considerably lower in level than that input is designed for.  Using an XLR cable will solve that part of the problem.

This is definitely something I am going to do.

You also say that the hiss goes away when you talk.

Yeah, I think this was only the hiss of the AUX which has now gone away since I change the device I was using to something new. The hissing that remains still stays even while speaking.

If you will be adding an external sound card to your setup, the card will certainly have line-level inputs on it.

Yeah this is definitely something that I am going to do eventually.


Thanks for your help.
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